I want my MTV!—Dire Straits, "Money For Nothing".
Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.—The very first lines ever spoken on MTV.
On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM, pop culture was changed forever by a new cable network that introduced a brand new idea -- a TV channel that played music videos, 24/7. That network was MTV. Fittingly, the first video they ever showed was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles.
The results were fantastic. In The Eighties, MTV was the iTunes and YouTube of the day, a revolution in pop culture and how music was enjoyed. Countless bands and artists (Madonna, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Rick Astley, and just about every Hair Metal band) saw their careers launched or furthered because of the heavy video rotation of some of their songs. If they were popular in the '80s, they were on MTV. Later in the decade, the network would also receive acclaim for devoting time to bands that played what was then called "college rock" (now known as Alternative Rock) on their 120 Minutes series, as well as Heavy Metal on Headbanger's Ball and hip-hop/rap on Yo! MTV Raps. Thanks to MTV, music went from being a primarily audial medium to a visual one, making the image and appearance of musicians just as important -- if not more so -- than their actual musicianship.